In an effort to dispel any doubt about how seriously Toyota takes its commitment to the U.S., CEO Akio Toyoda himself made an appearance at the brand's annual dealer meeting last week in Las Vegas.
Toyoda sought to assure the more than 4,000 attendees that the Toyota brand is meeting the demands of U.S. consumers now while also setting itself up for success in the future through its electric-vehicle and artificial intelligence units, according to a Toyota spokesman and several dealers in attendance.
Toyoda also looked to give dealers an extra dose of motivation ahead of the critical launch of the redesigned, eighth-generation Camry that's due by early fall.
Much of the focus at the national dealer meeting beyond Toyoda's remarks was on emphasizing the "American-ness" of the Camry and the automaker's vast U.S. manufacturing and research footprint.
With Toyota celebrating its 60th year in the U.S., such messaging was inevitable. But it has taken on added urgency within Toyota in the wake of President Trump's often withering criticism of automakers that import vehicles to the U.S., including from Mexico and Canada. As a candidate, he targeted Ford, and just last week he reportedly denounced German automakers.